Motherhood requires sacrifice, but you don’t have to sacrifice yourself. Here are 3 simple keys to a mother’s self care, plus a review of a beautiful Catholic subscription box for mothers.
This post was sponsored by The Little Catholic Box. I received the August box for review, but all opinions are my own. Also, this post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.
A few weeks ago, I posted this on my instagram:
Motherhood means letting go. Of sleep. Privacy. Expectations. Routine. It means letting go of who we once were to become something greater than what we could have foreseen. Whoever loses her life for His sake will find it, in the little people tugging our sleeves. #mymasstakeaway #mysundaybest #everydayediths #homeschoolmom #catholicmom #catholicfamily #catholicsofinstagram #lularoeazure #pamlicocounty #crystalcoastnc #minnesottbeach
What I wrote is true: motherhood is sanctifying. We emulate Christ in our vocation, turning to new life life at the moment of conception to whisper, “This is my body, given up for you.”
We are the maternal model of the Paschal sacrifice.
But I kind of missed that aspect entirely.
Readers flooded that post with agreement and affirmation. But one wise mother noted a gaping hole:
Yes, and even Jesus needed time to relax, to rest, to celebrate, to pray. Losing ourselves for His sake doesn’t mean allowing ourselves to become burnt out and desiccated because we wrongly believe that we don’t have a claim to privacy, rest or expectations.
In my zeal I had neglected a vital piece of the puzzle: the humanity we share with Christ.
The truth is, Jesus rested. He lived fully, he laughed and he played. And while he did indeed sacrifice himself for our salvation, he didn’t live his life in a state of beleaguered brokenness.
Neither, my friends, should we.
Motherhood, Gnosticism, and Finding Middle Ground
Mothers are a sacrificial lot. We navigate morning sickness, weight gain, and body changes. We give up sleep, personal space, and time. With the needs of other, less capable creatures blatantly before us, it’s easy to fall prey to a gnostic frame of mind.
We might not think our bodies are evil, but we do put them last in line.
The truth is, we are made in the image and likeness of God. How much do we internalize this and embrace what it really means?
Motherhood requires sacrifice, but we don’t have to sacrifice ourselves.
What I missed in my Instagram post was integral, and I’m glad my sharp-eyed reader pointed it out. Our children need us to be whole and healthy – not a burnt out, desiccated shell. It’s okay to take part in the good and the beautiful, to relax and refresh as often as we can.
3 Simple Keys to a Mother’s Self-Care
Focus on the True
I know – it isn’t easy to find time for prayer. Between the hustle and bustle of homeschooling and working, I’m lucky if I get a few moments of contemplation in the shower. But a mother’s spiritual life is as integral as the physical: our souls need good nourishment, too.
The question remains, though – how do we get it, if we’re in the trenches and subsisting on Goldfish and cheese? Simple – we schedule it, just as we do for doctor’s appointments and play dates. Get up a few minutes early. Involve the kids in a rosary. Leave scripture quotes around the house to encourage contemplative prayer. Make it a part of your day, every day. The time we give to him will come back to us in spades.
Take in the Good
What we take into ourselves should be edifying, building up instead of tearing us down. It’s hard when the static is everywhere: from the television in our living room to the smart phone in our pocket or purse, we’re faced with a constant barrage of media messages, and not all of them are good.
If the pull toward such connection consumes you, cut the cord for a set time each day. Put your phone in a drawer. Turn off the television. Pick up a book and read with your children. You’ll feel better about yourself and them without the added distraction.
Rest in the Beautiful
We are physical beings, designed to experience the world in all its goodness. It’s okay to surround ourselves with beauty and have standards for tidiness and peace. Our homes are our sacred spaces, even with little ones waiting in the wings.
Make this clear by hanging up beautiful pictures. Carve a space for yourself inside. Ask the kids to help tidy up for ten minutes, then go pick wildflowers to display on the dining room table. It doesn’t have to be a major undertaking; even small touches will make a world of difference.
I imagine at this point you’re probably thinking: “That’s great in theory, but I need something really concrete.” And you’re right. You certainly, absolutely, do.
Enter The Little Catholic Box
I first stumbled upon this monthly subscription box last November when I was putting together my Advent series. Catholic mom and entrepreneur Liz Outzs is the genius behind The Little Catholic Box, a collection of thoughtfully curated gifts from Catholic artisans, delivered straight to your door.
I can’t tell you how excited I was to find this this month’s box in the mail. It was the perfect pick-me-up on my rainy Saturday, and each item dovetailed beautifully with the 3 keys above.
The August edition of The Little Catholic Box includes:
- 13 Powerful Ways to Pray by Eamon Tobin, an explanation of the thirteen types of prayer
- A Memorare Prayer Block from Jen Norton, a perfect reminder for constant prayer
- A “For You, Jesus,” bracelet from Pink Salt Riot; lovely encouragement to offer our daily sufferings to Christ
- A “Thy Will Be Done” print from Sweet Little Ones to help keep your eyes focused on Christ
- A bar of Lemon Verbena Soap, handmade by the Dominican Nuns
Liz did such a beautiful job with the packaging it was almost too pretty to open and see what was inside. But I was glad I did, because not only did she include a card to describe the importance of each item – she also included a little note just for me!
The Little Catholic Box is indeed little, but the items inside give a huge boost to tired, weary mothers. They renew us in our vocation, and help us keep track of ourselves amidst the sacrificial nature of our motherhood. The box’s collection of spiritual and physical support reminds us of our true nature, one made in the image and likeness of God and in union with his son, our savior and Lord.
What a beautiful, perfect way to find and keep our true purpose in motherhood.
We are called to its holy altar, but we don’t have to sacrifice ourselves.
Want to check out The Little Catholic Box for yourself? I’m happy to offer a coupon code for $5 off your subscription. Just enter thelittlecatholicbox5 at checkout.